Changing UCA primarly weights (bad idea)

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Fri Jul 09 2004 - 11:37:50 CDT

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    At 09:06 -0700 2004-07-09, Mark Davis wrote:

    >There is a proposal being worked on to change the UCA primary weights, e.g.,
    >to give the same primary weights to O and O WITH STROKE, but as of this
    >point the UCA does not fold the following cases marked "!uca".

    I would like to point out that a number of people OPPOSE this
    proposal strongly, and even oppose the fact that some people are
    working on such a proposal. It has many disadvantages.

    1) it destabilizes the default tailorable template of ISO/IEC 14651
    and the UCA which has been published for some time. Anyone who *has*
    tailored it would have to do all that work all over again.

    2) it proposes to reverse the *explicit* design principles that went
    into the default tailorable template in the *first* place. Similar
    letters are near -- but not interfiled with -- similar letters. This
    is MORE than enough to give any casual user the functionality he
    needs, because only in initial position is there likely to be any
    confusion in real-life sorted word lists, and even then, hooked-b
    follows bz, which is hardly burdensome for the end user.

    3) in discussions elsewhere, Mark has talked about what "most users"
    "expect" and I found his suggestion to be anglocentric and

    4) the CORRECT behaviour for individual letters already occurs with
    the default tailorable template. Each individual e-like I.P.A. letter
    sorts near, but not among, all the I.P.A. letters. That's as should
    be. The proposal would interfile hundreds of letters within the
    twenty-six letters A-Z and add some thorns and clicks at the end.
    Therefore everyone BUT Mark's "most users" will have to tailor to get
    anything like correct behaviour. Put another way: "most users" won't
    see and don't care about hooked-b, but the template as it stands
    gives the correct behaviour for it.

    5) if Mark wants to make a tailoring to interfile all these letters
    (which can only result in what I describe as "visual seasickess" to
    any poor users who have to actually read such wordlists.

    6) the Latin alphabet has a lot more than 26 letters in it. In this
    age of the Universal Character Set, "most users" would do better to
    get used to this than to be hobbled by older concepts.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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